Is an effortless customer service experience possible?

Customers today often don’t get the service experiences they want – and deserve. From way too long spent on hold to an agent who doesn’t understand the issue or, worst of all, passes them on to a colleague, your customers are well-versed in disappointing service experiences.

In fact, according to The Effortless Experience author Matthew Dixon, customer service is four times more likely to drive disloyalty than loyalty.

Customers often dread customer service, expecting a painful experience. 78% of customers believe brands could do more to deliver happiness to their customers. And when it goes wrong, it can hurt both your reputation and your bottom line.

But it doesn’t need to be this way!

Rather than be discouraged, view this (very) low bar as an opportunity. While many of your competitors are out there providing service experiences that actually worsen their relationships with customers, you can look for opportunities to create experiences that build loyalty and help you grow your business. 

With a few changes, you can provide effortless customer service. We like to think of this as customer service as it’s meant to be – easy, helpful, and honestly delightful. 

Focus on providing a smooth customer experience, and you’ll leave your customers feeling seen and valued. But how? Let’s take a closer look at the four attributes of effortless customer service.

#1 Convenient

Your customers want to reach out in the most convenient way. Whether they prefer social media, email, or live chat, they want to get started immediately and move between channels easily.

Siloed channels create friction for customers. They have to repeat themselves with different agents. They might get conflicting information…

In some cases they might even hear the dreaded words “I can’t help you, you need to call / email …” 

Being told they have to reach out in a different way when they’ve already spent time and energy explaining their problem is definitely a no-go!

How to create a convenient customer experience

Embrace omnichannel customer service. When you create effortless customer service across different channels, you make life easier for your customers.

Make sure your agents have access to all the context they need. Your customers will appreciate never having to repeat themselves. And having the right context makes every interaction feel like the continuation of a conversation. It’s friendly, warm, and human. In addition to this, give your agents access to information that will prevent customers from reaching out again for the same or a similar issue. Issue avoidance is an important part of creating an effortless experience. 

To create the ideal omnichannel customer service experience, be sure to opt for a consolidated CS tech stack, perhaps using a customer service solution that brings it all together.

Let your customers know you’re there for them day or night with 24/7 customer support. And make it quick! For example, on Facebook if you want to earn a “very responsive to messages” badge, you need to respond to 90% of customer comments and posts within five minutes. Thoughtful use of chatbots alongside agents means your customers can get an answer any time. 

#2 Painless

Your customers want help and information available at their fingertips. Make sure they get it.

How to create a painless customer experience

Start before they ever contact an agent. Provide a self-serve knowledge base, so customers can search for answers themselves. 48% of buyers said finding up-to-date product or service information was a top challenge when researching purchases. Take that pain away from your customers with an up to date knowledge base that helps your customers get what they need faster.

Providing a knowledge base lightens the load on your agents too, as customers can look for their own answers before reaching out.

Make it easy to contact your team when they want to. Display contact information clearly on your website, app, and socials. And provide a range of options for contacting you including phone, email, live chat, and social media.

Use chatbots to direct customers to the right answer, article, or person. And make sure it’s easy for your customers to transition from a chatbot or knowledge base to a real live agent any time.

Create a painless agent experience too

Effortless customer service starts with creating an effortless experience for your agents. Always keep in mind the three pillars of agent happiness that your agents need to know for every interaction:

  1. What is the customer reaching out about? And not only what are they reaching out about now, but what have they reached out about in the past? How did that go? 
  2. Who are they? What is their name, their shipping address, and their purchase history with your company? Knowing these details makes customer service real and personal, instead of impersonal and bland.
  3. How can the agent solve the problem? Give them access to an up-to-date knowledge base so they know where to look for the answers.

Serve your agents the knowledge they need automatically so they don’t need to spend time searching for it, or asking colleagues. Customers get more accurate help faster and first contact rate and CSAT increase. Companies are waking up to this, with 40% of knowledge experts agreeing that embedding knowledge management into applications should be a key priority.  

#3 Transparent

Customers appreciate honesty. Whether it’s good news, like introducing them to a newly-launched product you think they’ll like, or bad news like an upcoming outage or even a shipping delay, they want the truth. The whole truth. 

Frictionless service journeys and transparency go hand-in-hand. When your customers know exactly how they can reach you, and what they can expect from you, their journey is easier, and they don’t automatically tense up when they know they need to get in touch. When you offer consistent and reliable service, their trust in your company starts to grow.

How to create a transparent customer service experience

Be proactive. Reach out to your customers about impending changes or service delays that could impact their experiences. Forewarning reminds them that you care about their experiences with you.

Be proactive about keeping waiting times down, too. Use automatic reminders to reach out to customers who haven’t replied to your questions. Choose software that helps your team prioritize customers who have had to wait longer than they should have.

Have visible and accessible customer reviews. Use a site like TrustPilot or B2B peer review site G2 so your customers know your reviews are genuine and unbiased.

Transparency goes both ways! Ask your customers for honest reviews and feedback, and use that to create effortless customer service. Reply to customer feedback and suggestions and let them know what, if any, changes you’re making as a result.

#4 Personalized

Your customers don’t just want an answer to their question. They want to feel seen and understood as individuals.

Customers want agents to know who they are and their purchase and service history with your brand. They want to know that the agent handling their issue cares about their specific situation and has the knowledge at hand to solve it.

Do that, and they’ll feel reassured that they’re not just a number to you and your agents.

How to create a personalized customer experience

Empower your agents with a customer service platform that lets them see:

  • Customer preferences
  • Account history (which agents they’ve interacted with and the outcome)
  • Purchases
  • Returns and any other issues raised
  • And, more!

Now your agents can offer your customers effortless customer service without having to spend extra time searching through external systems and internal notes to gain context. Your customers will love getting tailor-made solutions, suggestions, and recommendations that provide the best outcomes for them personally.

Find the balance between automation and live agents. Automated messages and chatbots should support personalization at scale, not diminish it. Use them to guide customers to the right resources, but make sure their contact with agents is relevant and personalized.

Deliver customer service as it’s meant to be

Create effortless customer service experiences, and you’ll do more than create happy customers. You’ll also boost customer retention, increase your revenue, and stand out from the competition. And with 82% of customers saying they’d recommend a company based solely on their customer service, great service creates brand evangelists who tell others why they should check you out.

If you want to learn more about creating effortless service experiences, check out our on-demand webinar with Matthew Dixon, best-selling author of The Effortless Experience, here.

Author

Francesca Valente

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